Saturday, June 18, 2011

In the good old summertime

The unfortunate aspect of basing this year's hot dog order on last year's attendance figure was that we ran out. The entirely positive aspect of last evening's Echoes of the Past living history expo on the Lucas County Historical Society Museum campus was that there were plenty of cookies, lemonade, chips and freshly-roasted peanuts to go around as attendance soared. What a great evening!

The weather cooperated even though there was a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms (I take credit for driving storm clouds away by obsessively checking radar maps during the day) and it was a beautiful, sunny, typically hot and humid summer evening. Lots of old friends were there, but it was especially nice to see so many new faces --- and such a broad age mix. That mix is the sort of thing museums like ours dream about.

School marm Mary Sandy (top and above), administering the Great Iowa History Quiz in Puckerbrush School, may have been the busiest. We had scheduled concurrent presentations in both the school and Otterbein Church for 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. That worked at the church. But a few steps down the hill at the school, a fresh classroom full of scholars filed in as soon as previous classes were dismissed --- and the teacher didn't get a break at all during the two-hour event.

The Rev. Dennis St. Lawrence, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, was just terrific as he blended the general history of curcuit-riding preachers with Otterbein history, then went on to demonstrate briefly just the sort of sermon that might have been delivered from the Otterbein pulpit a hundred years ago.

Dennis rose above and beyond the call of duty by wearing a long wool frock coat from the museum collection in a church air conditioned in the old-fashioned way --- open windows and funeral home fans (actually there are ceiling fans, too) --- and a vintage shirt. Judy and Marilyn added last-minute buttons to the shirt, intended to be held together by studs, when we discovered we didn't have enough studs of the right size that matched.

Ellen Hawkins (center) and the Dixon girls (Jackie Andrews, left, and Betty Cross, right) greeted our guests on the front porch of the Stephens House with lemonade and cookies. Chairs on the porch, plus its broad rail, proved to be a popular place during the evening just to sit and enjoy both the company and the breeze.

Board member Frank Mitchell, returning to his native over-hauls (yes, many of us pronounce overalls that way around here) after a career as a distinguished professor of history way out west in California, was in his element as he led visitors through the history of the log cabin.

Leo Steinbach (seated), shown here with Joe Steinbach, very kindly agreed to visit with guests in the Steinbach Meat Market display about a family and a business that have been mainstays of Chariton's business community for about as long as there has been a Chariton.

LCHS Board member Ilene Church, a nurse, spent the evening in the Crist Gallery, where our medical display is located, talking with visitors about that aspect of Lucas County's history.

And as always, the vintage peanut roaster that began its life at Piper's Grocery was fired up by board members and officers (from left) Jerry Pierschbacher, Bob Curtis and Bob Ulrich so that those who cared to do so could take home a sack of freshly-roasted peanuts.

So it was a great evening and everyone I think had a good time. The only mishap involved our musician, fiddler Clint Bingham, who managed to run afoul of a patch of poison ivy late in the week and was incapacitated by it. Maybe next time! If he'll just stay away from the poison ivy.

1 comment:

Virginia Cox said...

Frank, It was a great evening. Brought back a lot of memories of growing up on a farm near Russell. Even though I live in Ohio now and have for many years, I'm still an Iowan and a Russell Bluebird at heart. The Lucas County Historical Society is to be commended for the great work you do. The Museum is such an awesome place. Thanks for a wonderful evening.